My sweet, 15-year-old daughter just left for her FIRST home-away camp where she will not be able to talk to her parents, use a phone & will be sleeping away for five days. She left with butterflies in her tummy, anxiety, fear, overwhelm, but knew deep down this was going to be a very good, positive growth opportunity for herself.
She arrived at the drop-off location and noticed a big group of other kids waiting with duffles, sleeping bags, pillow, etc. Her immediate reaction was then, “My duffle is too big!” Her personal overwhelm then turned into ‘my stuff is going to draw too much attention!’
Isn’t life funny like that. We are first perceived by ‘our stuff’ and then as we get beyond the exterior ‘stuff’ and go deeper, we are able to find our place, our desires, our quests, to connect on deeper levels with others, to learn what is truly important, to see what defines, to then have a clearer picture of who we are–on the inside. Sometimes it takes a personal quest, an act or instance of seeking or pursuing something; a search.
Why do we send our kids to camp? to open a door for themselves to seek something within, to pursue learning things about themselves, to give them an opportunity to be alone with who they truly are and find a clarity that will help guide their life.
Life is a big, giant quest for answers, guidance, depth, challenge, change, growth, and as we seek after various things we learn…TRULY learn what is important and what we value from within.
I believe everyone becomes stagnate until they begin to notice where there life may need some injections of purpose, play, adventure….personal quests!!
Let’s take a few lessons from my daughter’s experience & see how they can help us with our own life quests.
DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES MAKE US GROW:
I had to remind my daughter that through challenges we grow. The flower does not fully bloom until it has broken through the tough soil to feel the warmth of the sun. We often have to go through hard things to find a place that can challenge us on another level.
Every experience truly does have a gift if we can look for it. Whether it brings us pain or discomfort, the gifts will be found after we make it through the tough packaging.
Even knowing my daughter will not be able to see or talk to us for five days (which has never happened in her entire 15 years of life), I know the separation will be so sweet when we see her again. She/we will have gained an even deeper appreciation for our relationship.
There are gifts in every life experience.
BE A CONSTANT SEEKER OF LEARNING:
If we are constantly striving to learn, growth in a variety of ways will follow. Think about it–if you are always reading, you are improving your writing skills, comprehension, spelling, imagination, reducing stress, expanding your vocabulary, etc. If you are constantly seeking to take a class (online or in person) you will gain confidence and education. When you are trying to expand your mind through growth in any area of your life—it is a quest to become better than you were. We should always be striving to become better than we were yesterday.
Dr. Wayne Dyer use to talk about striving to be flexible like a palm tree because they can bend in a storm and not break. If we can look at a situation and try to find a better way, to be flexible in the moment, the journey will be a little easier.
Today my daughter left the car, met a couple of girls & instantly joked, “Hi, I am Kate, the girl with the big bag!” I laughed out loud thinking about the perspective she took. How she just went with the situation and was flexible enough to make it a funny moment.
FACE THE FEAR & DO IT ANYWAY:
I think we are often put in circumstances where we are afraid of the outcome–whether it is a work meeting that could turn confrontational, going to a class with people you have never met, trying a new sport & not wanting to look foolish…
When we face a fear there is no question we walk away a little taller. Think about a situation where you were afraid to go, afraid of an outcome, but you pushed yourself to go through with it. Did you walk away feeling stronger and more confident? absolutely.
My daughter was terrified to go to camp & a couple of months ago when I brought up the topic of going, she was digging in her heels and determined not to go. I know that even at this moment, she may still feel some fear, but she is feeling more confident in knowing where she was & where she is today.
When we are able to find things that bring us JOY, life becomes the purest version of what we need internally. The quest for Joy is an illusive one, until you take the time to find those things that light you up. When something lights you up, you are on your way. When we find and do things that light us up, it naturally lights up others around us. We find an internal spark that ignites ideas, creativity, energy, pursuits of variety…it brings us to places that sing and ignite individual purpose. We truly come alive!
This is one of my daughter’s favorite quotes of all time. She believes this with her whole heart. She has this spirit that wants to change the world & I know as she strengthens her courage muscles, faces fears, is challenged and finds growth, she will continually find her way & make the difference she desires. I see her light up after volunteering at our local aquarium and teaching kids about marine life. I see her light up when she speaks in front of groups. I see her light up learning new things. I see her light up when she has to face a challenge & knows it will be good for her.
Life should be full of things that help us pursue personal quests all of our life!! When we are learning, growing, being challenged to change—we will then be led to things that light us up & we will continually find higher parts of ourselves.
When we are striving to become better each day…each day truly will be better.
Life is a sincere pursuit of things that will stay with us always. Look for the gifts in all you do. Make it a personal quest to find them. They are there to be unwrapped and enJOYed.
Peace, love and joy to you today. -H